Amanda Craig (novelist, journalist, blogger) has a site (which I found in the oddest of ways, but that is worthy of a post in itself) where she has posts of her lectures, articles written for various publications, book reviews, and more. I loved her reviews of Beyond Black and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and was comforted that by abandoning these two celebrated works I didn't show a complete and total lack of taste.
Craig's lecture/post about The Uses of Enchantment is fascinating. "If you understand that Jane Eyre is a conscious variation on the fairy-tale of Bluebeard, Mansfield Park a version of Cinderella, and Pride & Prejudice a reworking of Beauty & the Beast, your understanding and appreciation of their author’s genius is deepened, not lessened." Novelists such as Margaret Atwood, Angela Carter, Helen Fielding, A. S. Byatt, Joan Aiken and others use "archetypes and structures of the fairy-tale to address not only our deepest fears and desires, but also to explore the act of story-telling itself."
"Fairy-tales don’t pretend to describe the world as it is. What they do is to free the dreaming part of your mind that helps you to find your own solution," says Craig. There is so much to think about in this post that I can't begin to cover it well, but take a few minutes and check it out.